University of Washington

Paul H. Lange, Nelson Chair in Urology, School of Medicine
Denise Dudzinski, Assistant Professor Medical History and Ethics
Dept. of Medical History & Ethics

This unique program describes a three-year initiative to carry the science and religion dialogue to a new level. Instead of relying simply on courses and conferences, the project leaders hypothesize that by actually entering the working environments of the two fields, professionals in both the sciences and faith/value traditions will enjoy a more fruitful grasp of the intersection of the fields, thereby encouraging collaboration and dialogue between the groups. Interdisciplinary dialogue is enriched and sympathy is encouraged when members of each community learn about each other's discipline, but also learn through and with practitioners in the other discipline. The hope is that the initial dialogue this program encourages will lead to more teaching and collaborations between science and religion in the Seattle area. 

A large multi-disciplinary committee of about 30 experts from the University and the greater Seattle area have agreed to advise this project. The four main arms are a Science Practicum, Faith/Values Practicum, two lectureships, and an elective course.

The Science Practicum is geared toward ethicists, theologians and people from related humanities disciplines. It will partner with the Institute for Science Training and Research, a company that has already conducted many successful courses for non-scientists. Participants will be experience a hands-on curriculum that exposes them to such issues as organ procurement and transplantation, research and lab techniques used in reproductive medicine, end-of-life care, genetic counseling experiences, and personal implications of genetic disease. 

The Faith/Values Practicum will expose scientists to the work of ethicists, chaplains, theologians and other faith/values based professions. Participants may partner with hospice professionals on visits to dying patients, accompany chaplains or ethicists as they speak with patients about advance directives, and attend faith-based support groups to broaden understanding of patients' spiritual values.

Two lectureships will be conducted under the supervision of the Department of Medical History & Ethics at the University. Registration will be open to students and to members of the community.

In the third year, a course offered at the Medical School will focus on the dialogue between faith/value traditions and science. The course will be available to medical students as well as to graduates and undergraduates campus wide.

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